Trickster the water for all people, and creating the

Trickster gods and entities are prominent in nearly every culture, from every corner of the Earth. They are rule breakers, deceivers, cheater, and most importantly, the most entertaining of the all the gods. Each trickster figure shares some similarities and differences through each culture, yet while being known for their thievery or dark features, they all have important tasks that they complete and most are morally good when lined up with the evil figures in their respective culture. In Native American culture, the most popular trickster figure, Coyote, is responsible for stealing the sun and moon, releasing the water for all people, and creating the stars and constellations. In Greek mythology, the trickster god Hermes is one of the twelve major gods and is a messenger for the gods, able to cross between Mount Olympus, the Underworld, and Earth with no consequences unlike others. These two have many identifiable entities about them that make them able to be compared and contrasted. Each god has cultural identities that make them unique such as purpose, curious nature, and gender identity. In Greek mythology, Hermes’ beginnings show in a sense his pure desire and skills at thievery and lying. The day Hermes is born he manages to steal fifty cattle from the god Apollo. When confronted by Apollo and then eventually, his father Zeus, Hermes is deceitful and lies until the very end of the confrontation. Zeus, noticing the impressive speed and careful job Hermes must have done to commit his act of thievery, Zeus decided to make him the god’s messenger. To make up to Apollo for his actions, he had earlier stolen the shell of a turtle to create the first lyre, a musical instrument, and plays a beautiful song to Apollo, Hermes then gave the first lyre to Apollo and made amends with the god. The Native American trickster Coyote, stole fire for all of humanity and animals. The owner of fire at the time, Thunder, kept fire inside a huge white rock that was as enormous, yet weak as eggshells. Coyote, who was the only being not afraid of Thunder, challenged Thunder to a game of dice. Being the master trickster he was, he altered the game mechanics and cheated throughout the match, allowing him to win both fire for humanity and save his life, as that is what he offered to his uncle. Both of these myths show the deceptive nature of the gods and how they can use deceit to their benefit, however, what they wished of their benefit is where contrast in our two characters differ. Hermes utilized his deceptive skills for personal gain and a place among the twelve Olympian gods. Where as Coyote shows his skills as advancements for mankind, such as stealing fire, stealing the sun and moon, and even showing how far his gifts can last by giving a man named No Song a song, and stealing it back when he misused it. Both gods have similar abilities and creative skills, yet they share little when comparing the importance of their duties. One way that Hermes and Coyote differ greatly is the knowledge that they contained and their supposed competence and strength in a few of the myths attributed to them. For example, Hermes is sent by Zeus to slay the hundred-eyed giant Argos Panoptes, which he does successfully. He assists Perseus in his quest to slay Medusa, aids Zeus after he defeats the monstrous giant Typhoeus, bestowed Pandora with guile and deceitfulness. In Greek mythology Hermes, while being the trickster he is, can be trusted to complete the tasks given to him and never failed when given a task. The trickster inside him for the challenges bestowed to him. In contrast, Coyote can be seen on multiple occasions being shown hate, tiresome nature from his counterparts in his stories. With the help of Eagle, Coyote stole the sun and moon because Coyote was struggling with catching prey in the night time. When they fled with the sun and moon, Eagle and kept the box with the sun and moon and flew overhead as Coyote was barely keeping pace with Eagle. He hounded (get it?) Eagle until he let Coyote carry the box filled with the sun and moon. Yet after a time, Coyote was weighed down and Eagle took flight far past him over hilltops. Being alone, Coyote’s curiosity proved too great and the trickster peeked into the box. Inside were the sun and moon , both of which ended up escaping into the sky. Which ultimately was the creation of both night and day. Another myth, showing how Locust tricked Coyote, states that Coyote is, “not very bright,” and at the end of the story, is a “half-wit” due to Coyotes inept ability to remember the song that Coyote has been taught twice before. In another story, the Native American trickster is outsmarted by Water Turtle, and another Long Ears. The two tricksters both have the ability to trick many people, yet Hermes comes into Greek mythology with a greater knowledge than Coyote, so the Native American has to learn many of the things that are already set in place for the Greek. This is mostly because of the structure of Greek mythology and the sturdy foundations that the Greeks were able to create due to the unity in their society, except when compared to Native Americans, there is much more diversity and much less structure found in the many differing cultures and tribes throughout the Northern American continent. Coyote is much more curiosity driven in his surrounding than Hermes, having to figure out what works and what does not. An important perspective of both trickster gods is how they stay true to the gender role that they were given. In every culture that has a form of trickster god, the trickster would be a male figure. Another perspective of Hermes was shown as a womanizer, he had many lovers of divine, semi-divine, and mortal roles. One of the most notable loves was Aphrodite, who bore him the son named Hermaphroditos, a combination of the two gods names. Because Hermes and Aphrodite were both the gods of male and female sexuality, respectively, the son Hermaphroditos was notably handsome and received the looks of many females. Most notably, the nymph Salmacis had been attracted to him. She prayed to the gods that she would be united with Hermaphroditos forever, the gods answered and forever fused them together. This is how they explained humans who bore both parts of a male and a female. In contrast, Coyote is seen often as other animals and creations wanting nothing to do with sexually, having to use his trickster ways to pleasure himself from women. In one story Coyote has to put a cricket and bird behind each ear and pretend that their singing is that of his own in order to find courtship with two girls. His supposed singing bought them to sleep next to him, which once they were there they found the cricket and bird. In their rightfully given anger they snuck out and replaced themselves with logs too heavy for Coyote to lift, when he awakes he finds that he has been tricked and realizes his stupidity. There is more contrast with Hermes and Coyote in sexuality outwardness than any other aspect, as Hermes is listed a womanizer and lover, and Coyote is still found as a trickster, yet most of the times successful and persistent, yet often caught after the fact. In conclusion, Hermes and Coyote are both larger and very important in human development and show in themselves humanities self desire for trickster-like actions, such as stealing and findings ways to love women. Both tricksters have many valuable lessons and have myths of aetiological value, psychological, rational, allegorical, and anthropological myths in their many stories between them.


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